Greeks shy away from striking out on their own

Following the European trend, the average Greek is opting increasingly against self-employment, while Americans prefer to develop entrepreneurial activity, albeit not as much as in the past, according to the European statistics agency’s Eurobarometer survey on «entrepreneurial spirit.» While in 2000, 24 percent of Greeks said they preferred salaried work, this figure increased to 46 percent in 2004; in contrast, 70 percent of Greeks said in 2000 they preferred independent professional status, but four years later this shrank to 52 percent. In the EU last year, 51 percent stated they preferred salaried work while 45 percent chose independent labor. This is reversed in the US, with 34 percent opting for salaried work and 61 percent leaning toward entrepreneurial activities. Asked why they chose salaried work, 63 percent cited income stability, 56 percent mentioned job security and 10 percent said they wanted the social insurance coverage salaried employment provides. Regarding self-employment, 80 percent of Greeks find its main advantage is personal independence and self-fulfillment, 53 percent believe it has better income prospects and 16 percent feel there is no need to adapt to the work environment of someone else’s business. Some 78 percent of the Greek respondents who would rather be their own masters would prefer to have their own business and invest in it, while 21 percent said they wished to work for themselves without necessarily having their own enterprise. The EU averages are 60 percent and 36 percent respectively. For the future, 39 percent of Greeks stated they want to be self-employed in the next five years, with 60 percent answering negatively. The EU average figures are 33 percent and 66 percent respectively. On whether they have or would set up an enterprise through opportunity or necessity, Greeks were split, with 42 percent answering each way. Two-thirds (66 percent) said they prefer setting up their own business while 21 percent would buy an existing one. As for the factors averting average Greeks from developing entrepreneurial activities, 48 percent cite income uncertainty, 42 percent fear of bankruptcy, 38 percent the possibility of unemployment, and 25 percent fear personal failure. In the EU, 45 percent fear bankruptcy; only 15 percent worry about personal failure.